Richard Hagan, Managing Director of Crystal Doors - which has been celebrated for its leadership on Industry 4.0 as an SME - will be supporting other small manufacturers to adopt new technology.
Crystal Doors is a leading manufacturer of bespoke, vinyl-wrapped doors and has made several investments in robotics and automation, becoming a leading example of implementing Industry 4.0 thinking in a smaller business.
Speaking to IN4.0 about his experiences, Richard said:
“From the outside people are surprised by the level of technology that we use at Crystal Doors… Of course it wasn’t always like this. I came into furniture manufacturing in 1994 and it was a very traditional, labour-intensive sector. Automation had barely entered the industry.
“However, the emergence of low cost rivals like IKEA changed everything. In an industry of low margins, adopting Industry 4.0 technology wasn’t an optional choice but an essential one if we wanted to survive and prosper.”
Investments made to date include using artificial intelligence to improve quality; automating manual processes such as spraying doors; and a next-generation dust extractor that is connected to other machines.
“Our automation and robotics capability has positioned us years ahead of our competitors… Many manufacturers think they’re too small to benefit from Industry 4.0 technology but they’re wrong. We employ 30 people and have a turnover of £2 million.”
Mo Isap, Chief Executive of IN4.0, commented:
“Richard and Crystal Doors are the embodiment of what can be achieved if manufacturers have the ability and leadership to adopt Industry 4.0 technology. The achievements of Crystal Doors are evidence of why the North West can once again be the powerhouse of manufacturing in this country, if we invest in this once-in-a-generation opportunity.”
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